When you buy a new phone, chances are it’ll be locked to the company or network you bought it with. If you put another sim card in, it simply won’t work.
Unlocking your mobile enables the phone to be used with any compatible sim card on any network, which gives you these benefits:
Promotional deals. Often networks give away free Sim cards, these can come with free texts or calls. Yet if your phone isn’t unlocked you can’t put the Sims in your phone and take advantage.
A cheaper tariff. If you like your phone but don’t have a good deal, unlocking it allows you to keep the phone but switch to another network. And the fact you don’t need a new phone should enable you to get a better tariff. See Cheap Mobiles for more info.
Added value. Unlocked phones sell for more on eBay, because they have much wider appeal to users on other networks and in other countries.
Freedom to roam. Unlocking extends to many foreign Sim cards too, so you can totally eschew the UK networks’ expensive overseas rates by getting a local Sim card everywhere you go. See Cheap Roaming for more.
In short, unlocking gives your mobile independence from the network you got it from.
Why do mobile phone companies lock phones?
Mobile companies say their phones are already heavily subsidised to entice you to buy them and they need to make up this shortfall. Yet the reality, as ever, comes down to cold hard cash; it makes no sense to sell you the phone at reduced cost and then let you take your money to another network provider.
Isn’t it illegal?
No, there is a misconception between unlocking and unblocking.
Unlocking is totally legal. It just means making the phone work with any simcard.
Unblocking is illegal. This is the practice of making a phone work again after it’s been blocked by the networks, usually as a result of its being reported lost or stolen. Unsurprisingly, It is thoroughly illegal and should not be attempted.
I have a 3G simcard, will it work?
3G sim cards will only work in 3G handsets. Please make sure the networks’ sim card is compatible with the phone before purchasing an unlock code.